Author: Katie McGarry
Published on: May 28, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, contemporary romance
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Format: E-book, hardcover, paperback, Audible
“I dare you…”
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs—until the day her uncle swoops in, and Beth finds herself starting over at a school where no one understands her. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does.
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock—with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image is risking everything for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…
Pushing the Limits exceeded my expectations. Even though it could have had a more cheerful tone, I wasn’t disappointed. Noah and Echo made a compelling pair of protagonists. So when I learned that there would be more Pushing the Limits series books, I bought the second one. Only, I slightly hesitated to read it. The protagonist of Dare You To is Beth Risk, who was introduced in the first book. I didn’t like her much when I first met her. Beth was even worse than Noah used to be. She is a stoner, skater chick with as much bite as bark. And Beth’s mouth is about as clean as Hit-Girl’s. Why would anyone be interested to read a book about someone that snide?
It turns out that Beth is more than she appeared to be. From the moment Ryan Stone (the second protagonist) laid eyes on Beth, it was apparent there was more to her. The book is told from Ryan’s and Beth’s first-person POVs, so the reader’s experience of the story is as personal as it gets. In one of the first Beth-centric scenes, she sacrifices herself for her mother. Beth’s mom lives alone with her abusive husband, Trent. After an incident involving all three of them, Beth is arrested.
A short while after, Beth’s uncle Scott comes to take her with him. This comes as a shock to her. Going with Scott means Beth will have to say goodbye to her old life and friends. The person Beth least wants to leave behind is Isaiah, her best friend. Scott has gained custody of Beth, and threatens to send her mom to jail if she doesn’t comply. So Beth has no choice but to relocate to Groveton. At least that town is not far from her old home.
The surprises don’t end there. To Beth’s chagrin, she learns that Ryan attends the high school Scott enrolled her in. The two of them met before, and it was embarrassing for Ryan. The latter knows Scott because Ryan’s father introduced them. Scott Risk is a former star baseball player, which Ryan aspires to become. Ryan is only too happy when Scott asks him to take Beth under his wing. Beth finds him handsome, but she’s been duped by sweet-talking guys before. At first, Ryan is drawn to Beth because of a dare from a friend. He takes those seriously, as he hates losing in anything. All Ryan has to do to win the dare is to score a date with Beth.
“ Emotion is evil. People who make me feel are worse. I take comfort in the stone inside of me. If I don’t feel, I don’t hurt. ”
At first, Beth can’t stand Ryan…or Scott, for that matter. She figures that both of them want her to be someone she’s not. All Beth wants is to escape with her mother somewhere safe. Ryan is starting to fall for Beth, although he doesn’t realize it at first. And to Beth’s dismay, she’s also growing to like—and, yikes, trust—Ryan. It helps that the latter is friends with Beth’s childhood best friend, Lacy. She’s one of the few people that Beth cares for the most.
Ryan not only faces the challenge of penetrating Beth’s tough walls. He’ll also question whether becoming a major-league ballplayer is what he most wants for his life. One of Ryan’s teachers gives him more choices. Ryan used to have his future well planned-out, but now he’s unsure. Also, his family is not as perfect as they strive to look like. This wasn’t very original, but it added more layers to Ryan. He’s got plenty of struggles in his life. Will Ryan overcome them all?
To my surprise, I ended up liking Dare You To more than its predecessor. I never dreamed Beth would be the person she truly is on the inside. She’s a prime example of the saying “Sometimes people put up walls not to keep others out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” Ryan cared, and he was the only person able to inspire Beth to come out of her shell. Beth’s change of hair color through the book adds a sort of symbolism to this. In the end, Dare You To was an awesome read. And to think I considered not giving it a chance! I would have regretted it.
This novel is recommended for all ages. Violence level is mild to none.
A stunning page-turner!
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